I’ve always been driven- a go-getter, a self-starter, a leader. I start things and I do things and I put my whole heart into things and I carry things out to completion.
I have always done what I am good at, and I have done it incredibly well.
But I have also always had an incredible fear of failure. Like, absurd. I’m good at a lot of things, and being bad at things terrifies me. So I stick with what I’m good at, and run from what I’m bad at. So for as long as I can remember, I avoided risks, and ran from new things and anything I was bad at (not actual running, metaphorical running. Real running is hard). But God has been doing the funniest things in my life the past couple of years. He’s been calling me to things that I’m bad at. And the crazier thing? I’ve actually listed to Him and followed those callings.
I was never the girl that everyone (well, really anyone) pegged as a Wilderness guide. My parents didn’t even think I was cut out for it. Sure, I had always loved the people, the ministry, and my one week on trail, but it was hard. And me? I had quit every sport I had ever started (with the exception of seventh grade B team volleyball, when they did not invite me to play again the next year), I didn’t enjoy large amounts of physical activity, and I probably couldn’t run a mile if my life depended on it. So how in the world would I be a Wilderness guide?
But that summer, I had applied for summer positions all over the place. Pine Cove, summer staff, internships, full time nanny jobs- everything. But I didn’t feel peace about any of them. I didn’t feel peace about anything except applying to guide. There was a small voice that kept whispering, “do this. do this.” And so I did. And I turned down every other offer to wait and hear if I was accepted to guide. Something that I knew I was not naturally good at.
Throughout my entire process of applying and waiting, I answered everyone’s questions the same way. I said over and over again,
“If they want someone qualified, it won’t be me. If they want someone so small and weak that anything good that came out of her would have to be attributed to Jesus, if they want someone who His power can be perfected in her weakness, well, that’s me. But no, I’m not qualified, and no, I probably won’t be chosen unless they’re absolutely crazy. But I’m confident this application is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
And guess what? They were crazy. In February of 2013, Lisa Ismert called to tell me that I was invited to be a guide for the next two summers at Wilderness Ranch.
I cried. Half of my tears from joy, half from the realization that I was about to have to do something really, really hard.
And I did. I did it. I spent two summers guiding high school kids through the mountains. And I passed running tests and I responded to emergency evacuation situations and I shared the Gospel and I heard stories of the hardest home lives and I lost feeling in two of my toes and I slept on snow and I hiked 200 miles and I woke up at 3am to peak mountains. I did incredible things, and incredibly hard things, things that don’t come naturally to me. And every morning, whether waking up to peak or waking up to run the 5 mile test for the 5th time, I woke up to the knowledge “I am not the best at this. Someone else is better. This is hard for me. This is a struggle. But I’m still called to do it. And Christ is still faithful.”
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
There is a beauty in failure, and in embracing our flaws and struggles. There is a beauty and a realness to throwing our hands up in the air, and shouting “I’m bad at this!” and then, continuing to do it. There is a beauty in total surrender, in letting Christ perfect His power through our weakness.
I’ve learned to have courage, and to be brave, and humble, and to trust in Jesus and in His goodness. When I can’t run another step, He comes up behind me and pushes. When I don’t have the words to say, He speaks them for me. When I am weak, He is strong. And so I will continue to do the things that I am most terrible at, because the most beautiful triumphs and successes are those which can in no way be attributed to ourselves.